Recently at work, we’ve started using the font Gotham for most publications. We’re not using it on the web, though. At the moment, that’s largely because there’s a big redesign project in the works, and no one wants to make major changes until that’s finalized. In the future, we might stay away from it due to licensing restrictions and technical limitations, or even as a simple design choice.

The biggest hurdle for using Gotham on the web is that it’s not a standard installed font, and legally we can only allow it to be used in static images or with sIFR (providing we allocate licenses to the web servers that are hosting pages using the font), which effectively limits it to use in headlines, not body copy. Delivering Gotham using @font-face is expressly forbidden.

However, it is starting to be installed in many computers across campus, so I thought I could specify it as part of the font stack, and if people had Gotham installed, they would see Gotham, and if not, they’d see Arial (as suggested by the Positioning Guide).

body {
 font: Gotham, Arial, sans-serif;
}

This works in Firefox and Safari on the Mac, but not in Opera, and it doesn’t seem to work in anything on the PC. So instead, depending on the browser, you need to specify the exact font name or the exact PostScript font name. You make this work by specifying both, so that all browsers can find the font name in the format they expect.

body {
 font: 'Gotham Book', Gotham-Book, Arial, sans-serif;
}

Now all the browsers are displaying Gotham. However, Windows browsers, with the exception of Safari, seem to be synthesizing bold and italic fonts instead of using the correct font variant.

For some reason, Safari for Windows is doing terrible anti-aliasing, but it is at least getting the bold and italics right:

Opera for Mac seems to be dropping the bold:

Here’s what it should look like:

Now, I said earlier that delivery of the font using @font-face was prohibited, and that’s true…but what if I just use the “local” part of the definition to specify what “parts” of Gotham should be used when bold and italics are selected? As it turns out, that’s a bit of a pain. I won’t go into all the steps that led me to this, but here’s the final code. This represents a “best case scenario” given my users’ likely browser use, as opposed to a perfect fix:

@font-face {
 font-family: 'Gothamy';
 src: local('Gotham Book'), local('Gotham-Book');
 font-weight: normal;
 font-style: normal;
 font-variant: normal;
}
@font-face {
 font-family: 'Gothamy';
 src: local('Gotham Bold'), local('Gotham-Bold');
 font-weight: bold;
 font-style: normal;
 font-variant: normal;
}
@font-face {
 font-family: 'Gothamy';
 src: local('Gotham Book Italic'), local('Gotham-BookItalic');
 font-weight: normal;
 font-style: italic;
 font-variant: normal;
}
@font-face {
 font-family: 'Gothamy';
 src: local('Gotham Bold Italic'), local('Gotham-BoldItalic');
 font-weight: bold;
 font-style: italic;
 font-variant: normal;
}
body {
 font-family: Gothamy, Gotham-Book, Arial, sans-serif;
}

Opera for Mac is now fine, but Opera for Windows now seems to be unable to produce italics:

Safari for Windows is now doing an even crappier job of anti-aliasing with ClearType on (what’s particularly odd is, with ClearType off, it’s actually perfect, and it has no problems if you tell it to use its own font smoothing methods):

Internet Explorer is still making up its own bold and italics, but at least now if I felt strongly about this I could remove Gotham-Book from the font stack and it would revert back to Arial, without affecting the appearance in any other browser. I’m kind of surprised that this behaviour persists in the Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 9, but at least that’s still a work in progress and there’s a chance that Microsoft will fix this before the final build is shipped.

By the way, Chrome for Windows is fine, but Chrome for Mac absolutely hates @font-face with the “local” definition. Apparently, this is a known issue:

This actually persisted when I removed all the @font-face definitions and just had Gotham in the font stack, but I think that might just be some aggressive caching.

So, should you use Gotham this way on your own websites? I’d certainly say no, unless you’re working in a tightly controlled environment where you know no one’s using a browser that doesn’t render the way you’d like. Even if future releases display this in a more consistent manner, it could be years before their use is widespread.

Kevin on January 2nd, 2010

Now that I’ve bought a new TV, I’m looking for a stand for it. I could mount it on the wall, but I just can’t bring myself to trust my skills hanging such an expensive piece of electronics, and I’ll need new storage anyway.

My ideal stand should lift the TV at least 22″ (56cm) from the floor, be at least 49″ (124.5cm) wide and at least 11.4″ (20cm) deep. It needs to be able to support my 83.6 pound (38kg) TV. There should be lots of storage space for movies, and enough space for all my AV equipment as well. Everything should be enclosed somehow, given that all this storage space is at “cat height”. I’m also hoping to keep the cost of this under $200 Canadian.

I did see a nice stand in Zellers that met most of these requirements and was on sale for $230, but I was sure I’d find something better/cheaper elsewhere. Now I’m not so sure, and of course the sale is now over, so the stand is out of my price range.

Looking online, there’s lots of wacky TV stands out there. Fortunately, they’re all out of my price range, so I’m not (significantly) tempted. Sears has one with a pull-out laptop stand. Target has one with a built-in fireplace!

More in line with what I’m actually looking for, the Leksvik from Ikea is nice, but technically not wide enough. This one from US Walmart has awesome storage, but nowhere to put the AV equipment. This other one from US Walmart is almost right, but it looks like the AV equipment is exposed (and the unit’s a touch on the wide side).

I’ve got a couple of weeks to figure this out, though, so for now the plan is to visit a couple of stores and see what they have, and keep searching online hoping to run across anything cool. Of course, if anyone actually reads this and has suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Kevin on January 2nd, 2010

On Boxing Day morning, I went out looking for deals on a PS3. I ended up getting one from Walmart with 2 free games, inFAMOUS and Batman: Arkham Asylum (I also picked up an extra controller, which was bundled with Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction). Now, I’ve got an older, rear-projection TV, which, for high-definition, only supports 1080i and only through component video, so I wasn’t sure how well the PS3 would work with it – I’d heard in the past that the PS3 doesn’t upscale like my 360 does, and that most games would only be 720p, so if this was right then I would be stuck with standard-definition, which would not look good on my big-screen TV.

When I opened the box to the PS3 later that afternoon, I was very surprised to find that it only shipped with a standard-definition cable, which is pretty much an outrage in this day and age. My 360, which I bought within a year of launch, shipped with support for both! So now I need to go out and get the Sony component cable, which is $35 at Future Shop, and I’m still not sure that the PS3 will actually work right with my TV once I get it. Because there’s a custom connector on this cable on the PS3 side, there’s not much in the way of alternatives; in fact, the “generic” version is actually priced identically at Future Shop. The PS3 does have a standard HDMI output, and HDMI cables are easy to find cheap (as long as I don’t buy them at Future Shop), but my TV doesn’t have HDMI inputs, so that doesn’t actually help.

Amidst Boxing Day shopping euphoria, it seemed perfectly logical that I should look at the TV deals first instead of just buying the cable. After all, new TVs would have all the modern connectors, allowing me to hook up the PS3 and anything else that might interest me without having to worry, and it’s not like there weren’t other issues with my current TV that were starting to annoy. Also, I wouldn’t have to go out shopping again, since it made sense to do the shopping online where I could compare various retailers and look up reviews. And if I didn’t find anything worthwhile, I still had the fallback plan of buying the cable and hoping it worked.

In the end, I bought a Samsung PN50B530, which I pick up in a couple of weeks. It’s a 50″, 1080P plasma model, with all the inputs I need (at least for now). I’ve temporarily hooked the PS3 up to my smaller, standard-definition bedroom TV, so I’m not disappointed by the resolution. When my new TV comes in, I’ll hook the PS3 up to that, move my current big-screen TV into the bedroom, and figure out something to do with my old bedroom TV later.

Of course, now I need to buy some sort of stand….

Kevin on December 1st, 2009

Teacher's 40 Piece Stationary [sic] Kit

Found in a Dollar Store in Amherst, NY.

Tags:

In the Black-Eyed Peas current single, Boom Boom Pow, Fergie sings/raps, “I’m so three-thousand-and-eight, you so two-thousand-and-late.” It doesn’t make a lot of sense or serve as a particularly good dis (“I am from the future, you are not”) – but the worst problem, in my opinion, is that the line was obviously written under the assumption the song would come out in 2008, and they couldn’t be bothered to update the line, or perhaps they just couldn’t think of anything they liked better.

Here are some suggestions to update the line, not just for this year, but also for the future, so they can update the line in concert or something:

  • “I’m so three-thousand-and-fine, you stuck two-thousand-and-nine.”
  • “I’m so three-thousand-and-nine, why you two-thousand-and-whine.”
  • “I’m so three-thousand-and-ten, you so two-thousand-and-when.”
  • “I’m so three-thousand-and-ten, you are a big fat hen.”
  • “I’m so three-thousand-and-heaven, you’re just two-thousand-eleven.”
  • “I’m so three-thousand-eleven, you’re so two-thousand-and-Kevin.”
  • “I’m so three-thousand-and-twelve, you’re so two-thousand-and-shelved.”
  • “I’m so three-thousand-and-thirteen, you’re just two-thousand-and-burping.”

Hey, look out! I’m the next Black-Eyed Pea!

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FrslP7p5-c

Anyone got more?

Kevin on February 16th, 2009

I just bought a bunch of Japanese junk food off eBay and JBOX. eBay really needs a shopping cart system if it’s going to have “stores” instead of having everything be an auction – it sure was a pain in the ass to pick all this stuff out.

The bizarre flavours they offer are truly incredible. Take a look at what I bought…

List of Japanese junk food bought off eBay.
List of Japanese junk food bought from JBOX

Kevin on February 11th, 2009

Hey, you there? The store with all that clothing on clearance? If you want me to take any of it off your hands, put the damn sizes in a visible place on the hanger. I’m not going to dig through hundreds of one-of-a-kinds hoping that this time it’ll be my size that you have left.

And sorting them into sections of sizes is not much more help unless I somehow arrive immediately after you’ve put the stuff out for sale. People cannot be trusted to put stuff back where it came from.

Kevin on January 5th, 2009

Kevin on July 29th, 2008

Pop Art

I am hilarious.

Kevin on July 14th, 2008

Sure, its creator calls it the Fun-O-Meter, but it dispenses ideas and that’s what makes it cool.

I love this idea. I want to create my own idea dispenser. I actually started pricing capsule vending machines on eBay…debating the merits of 1″ vs. 2″ capsules…wondering if machines that took American quarters would take Canadian quarters too. I figured I’d write my own ideas, or at least steal some good ones from the web. Set up shop outside my office at work by the design area (surely they need some cheap ideas?). I even looked at prices of capsule toys so people wouldn’t feel ripped off if they didn’t like my ideas.

It’s doable for under $100 I think, maybe even under $50, and I’ve certainly wasted more money on less cool things. If the auction I’m watching for a vending machine stays low priced, I may be in business soon.